There is a well-known saying: “It takes a village to raise a child…” It takes more than a village to provide education and inspiration to a child, but here’s a musical connection that brings great ideas together.
First, there was the charitable arm of the Canadian Club, the Asociación Caritativa Canadiense and its founders Lyn Statten and Fred Boden, who have since the year 2000 championed the need for improved infrastructure in Costa Rican schools.
The association’s vision is: “that every Costa Rican child has access to a clean, secure, well-maintained and healthy school environment in which to learn and grow.” The fund-raising has contributed over $300,000 to help schools in 95 needy communities. The money went to repairing badly deteriorating roofs, bathrooms, septic tanks, providing classroom materials, erecting security walls, playgrounds, and more.
Then, along came Ms. Statten’s Canadian cousin, Cynthia Johnston Turner, who is director of the famed Wind Ensembles at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Professor Johnston’s leadership integrates the theories of her master’s thesis on the musical and personal transformations for students that occur on tours.
Before joining Cornell, Ms. Johnson Turner received her doctorate in musical arts at the Eastman School of Music, NY where she was the recipient of the Eastman Graduate Teaching Award in conducting.
Since January 2006, as director of the Cornell Wind Ensemble, Ms. Johnson Turner has led her students to acclaim on biennial tours to Costa Rica. CUWinds tours include community performances across the country, master classes with Costa Rican teachers, instrument master classes for Costa Rican children, and the donation of over 250 instruments to music schools.
Here’s where the Sistema Nacional de Educación Musica connects the dots between CUWinds and the musical school network, arranging for CUWinds’ master classes and community performances. The Sistema Nacional Educación Musical was established in 2007 by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.
The system’s mandate seeks to give children outside the
metropolitan area of San José and in at-risk urban areas opportunity for high quality musical training and education, along with academic studies.
Nine music schools and 20 children and youth orchestras are established throughout the country, each in turn performing outreach for further musical education in their communities.
CUWinds’ students benefit equally from this partnership, past participants quoted as saying that the tour is “probably the most significant thing I’ll do in my life,” “is an incredible experience,” and “taught me the true meaning of service.”
The Cornell Winds 2014 tour includes 45 of the university’s best wind and percussion players. It kicks off Sunday at 4 p.m. with a concert at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in the North American Cultural Center, Los Yoses.
The concert will raise funds for the school projects of the Asociación Caritativa Canadiense in many needy communities.
Tickets for the concert and a reception afterward are 12,000 colons for adults and 3,000 colons for students. Children under 12 will be admitted free. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Ms. Statten at 2282-1146 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next on the tour will be performances and master classes plus instrument donations in San Isidro de El General Jan, 13, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas Jan 15 and San Vito Jan. 16. For the first time the tour includes Panama with concerts in David Jan. 17 and in Panama City Jan. 18 and 19.
*Ms. Dewar is a member of the Canadian Club of Costa Rica.